How Do You Roll? Is Like a Date You Know Will Never Work Out, But You Give It a Shot Anyway.

Categories: First Taste

Unagi Roll
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: How Do You Roll?
Location: 1515 North 7th Avenue
Open: Almost a month.
Eats: Fast-casual sushi.
Price Point: About $8 to $10 per person

A fast-casual sushi chain in the Valley? It's true. And like a date you know will most likely never work out, you're curious enough to go along with it anyway.

Founded in 2008 in Austin by brothers Yuen and Peter Yung, How Do You Roll? allows customers to follow a line, Subway-style, and build their own sushi rolls from an array of traditional and non-traditional ingredients.

Last month, the chain opened its first two restaurants in Arizona. In addition to a Tucson location, the custom sushi shop also has a home in Phoenix at the rebuilt corner of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road (in the former Historic Antique Mall) alongside neighbors such as Five Guys, Jersey Mike's Subs, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

And if you think sushi can't get any more Americanized than it already is, read on.

3 Alarm Roll
Like many fast-casual chains, the concept of How Do You Roll? is about being accessible to as many people as possible. And when it comes to sushi, that means making Americans feel that this Japanese food can simply be another form of a Subway sandwich or a Chipotle burrito -- that is, a wrapped food product filled with familiar ingredients. It's surprising the idea hasn't happened sooner.

And judging by the popularity of the restaurant when I popped in, I'd say folks are buying it -- at least for the initial novelty of it all.

Not for faint of heart sushi purists, the scene at How Do You Roll? could be described as, well, McSushi. Lighted menu boards hang behind the Subway-style ordering line; cold sides come in plastic containers out of a cooler; a condiment bar, instead of ketchup and salt packets, features wasabi and ginger; and the soy sauce comes from one of two large urns.

The menu offers six featured rolls and promotes customizing your own with more familiar ingredients such as spicy tuna, cucumber, and unagi as well as non-traditional ingredients like grilled chicken, beef -- even strawberries. All rolls are ten pieces and come wrapped in traditional seaweed or modern soy and with a choice of white or (Oh, my!) brown rice.

Location Info

How Do You Roll?

1515 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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